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The Nassau County Independence Party announced Tuesday that it was backing Republican County Executive Edward Mangano for re-election in November.
The endorsement had been widely expected as Nassau Party Chairman Rick Bellando is a vocal supporter of Mangano, and Democratic candidates Thomas Suozzi, a former county executive, and Roslyn School Board member Adam Haber, did not sit down for formal interviews with party leaders.
“The Independence Party endorses for Ed Mangano for his record of freezing property taxes, cutting government waste and creating thousands of new jobs,” Bellando said in a statement. “Ed Mangano has truly demonstrated a commitment to protecting taxpayer’s wallets and helping build a better Nassau County in this Post-Hurricane Sandy world.”
Mangano said he was “honored” to receive the party’s endorsement and “thank them for recognizing my record of freezing property taxes for three straight years and creating thousands of new jobs in Nassau.”
Mangano will also appear on the Republican, Conservative and Tax Revolt lines in November.
The Independence Party endorsed Suozzi in his 2009 when he lost his re-election bid to Mangano. But the party underwent a leadership change in 2011 when then-Chairman Bobby Kumar was ousted from the post by state Party Chairman Frank MacKay. Bellando, the catering manager at Oheka Castle in Huntington, was appointed Nassau chairman in 2012.
The Suozzi campaign said it did not seek the Independence Party’s support this year.
“Mangano’s name can appear on the ballot a hundred times, but it still doesn’t change the fact that he has borrowed more than a billion dollars, has driven Nassau deeper into debt, and has no plan for the future of this county,” said campaign manager Danny Kazin.
Mangano spokesman Brian Nevin fired back. "The Mangano administration has borrowed 40 percent less than the Suozzi administration and has not raised property taxes at all," Nevin said.
The Haber campaign said it had informal discussions with Independence Party officials but that it did not go through the formal interview process.
Suozzi, who has the backing of the Democratic and Working Families parties, will face off with Haber in a primary for the Democratic primary in September.